Eugene Gerden


Eugene Gerden writes about the Russian auto industry from his base in St. Petersburg.

Defying Weak Market, BMW Adding Russian Dealerships 
Unlike other automakers that have scaled back or even halted production to reduce inventories of unsold vehicles, BMW is moving to expand its current network of 65 dealerships in 41 Russian cities.
GM, Former Russian Dealers in Contentious Talks 1
Despite the current difficulties, negotiations are expected to continue. Legal action by the dealers likely would result in the termination of service contracts by GM, potentially exposing bigger retailers with large customer bases to further losses.
Russian Government Sweetens Automaker Subsidy Pot
Most of the new funding will be used to compensate local and global automakers for discounts given dealers in a market where, according to WardsAuto data, sales fell 29.7% year-on-year in June and were off 36.4% through the first half of the year.
Luxury-Car Sales Numbers Small But on Rise in Russia 
Sales have jumped in part because most luxury automakers and their dealers have refused to raise prices while also offering additional benefits and incentives for customers.
Suppliers Battered By Russian Auto-Industry Slump  1
The decision by Faurecia, which manufactures components such as seats, interiors and exhaust systems, to partially suspend operations may disrupt Russian production by major automakers including PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ford.
Ailing Russia Market Not Sidetracking VW Investment 
VW recently launched production of both 1.6L engines and its new-generation Polo sedan at its Kaluga plant, joining new versions of the Touareg CUV and Jetta sedan being built at the facility.
Russia’s GAZ Looks to Replace GM Assembly Work 
GAZ’s contract with GM to assemble Aveo cars at its 30,000-unit-capacity Nizhny Novgorod plant expires at the end of 2016, but production likely will end by the end of this year.
Russia Liberalizes Localized Auto Production Rules 
The proposal is a response to concerns expressed by many foreign automakers that the ongoing decline of the Russian automotive market may leave them unable to meet their obligations to reach 75% levels of localization by 2018.
Kamaz Cuts Spare Autonomous-Truck Development 
Driving the cutbacks in both investment and production is a 40% decline in year-to-date sales from like-2014.
Russian Auto-Sales Recovery Years Away, Analysts Say
Premium brands’ share of the Moscow and St. Petersburg markets is about 20%, but analysts predict demand will shift over the next few years from Russia’s largest cities to less-populated regions.
Russia’s AvtoVAZ Plans $3 Billion Investment 
Money will be spent to improve manufacturing, increase local content and bring Lada’s Vesta concept to production. Also on tap is a new-gen Chevy Niva with partner GM.
General Motors Shifts Russian Production to Belarus
A government spokesman says besides Opel, GM will add assemblies of premium brands including Cadillac at its Belarusian JV by September. The new models will be sold in Belarus, Russia and possibly other Eastern European states.
Slumping Sales Keep BMW’s Russian Plant on Ice 
Contract assembler Avtotor says BMW still is interested in developing a plant within a larger automotive cluster with annual capacity of 250,000 units by 2019 in the Kaliningrad region.
Audi Sees Upmarket Opening in Besieged Russia Market  1
Audi Russia chief Achim Saurer says the low- and mid-priced segments of the Russian market will bear the brunt of what is projected to be a 30% year-on-year decline in sales this year, creating opportunities for higher-end brands.
Automakers Say Russian Tax Hike Would Add to Pain 
While the tax increase also would apply to importers, the government no longer can afford to raise subsidies for Russian automakers and global manufacturers operating locally at the same rate.

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